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Rams notes: Pead eager to build on special teams success/PD

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by RamBill, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. RamBill Well-Known Member

    Jul 31, 2010
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    Rams notes: Pead eager to build on special teams success
    • By Joe Lyons


    Last year, midway through his second season with the Rams, running back Isaiah Pead knew something had to change — and fast.

    “I didn’t have a role on offense, on the team, period,” he recalled, talking after Thursday’s practice at Rams Park in Earth City. “I hadn’t been playing — just getting dressed and standing on the sideline — so I went to (special teams coordinator John Fassel) and asked him to let me run down on kickoffs, punts, something ...

    “My mindset was to just get on the field.”

    Pead, a second-round draft choice by the Rams in 2012, excelled on special teams during the final seven games.

    “Not only was he a contributor, he was a high-impact guy for us,” Fassel said earlier this week. “I think a lot of people are going to see a lot of growth out of that guy ... I just imagine with his maturity, his work ethic, his ability, I would imagine he’s going to have a fantastic preseason.”

    Pead, who has 75 rushing yards and 94 receiving yards over two pro seasons, is looking to parlay his special teams success into increased playing time within the Rams’ offense.

    “Coach Fassel gave me a role to fill, and I put my best foot forward,” the 24-year-old Pead said. “This is a new year, and I’m focused on playing running back. Focused on helping on special teams also, but my main focus is getting back there in the backfield.

    “This year early, special teams is going to be my role. But I’m focused on changing my role to running back.”

    Zac Stacy, who led the team with 973 yards and eight touchdowns as a rookie last year, is the returning starter, but offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer expects Pead to play a part in the backfield competition during training camp along with fellow backs Benny Cunningham, Tre Mason, Chase Reynolds and Trey Watts.

    Pead is “doing good. He ran with the 1’s some today and did a nice job,” Schottenheimer said after Tuesday’s workout. Pead “took a big step up for (Fassel) on special teams. When a guy does that, he’s obviously going to be dressed every day on gameday, which is a big thing for us because you don’t get everybody dressed for gameday.

    “He’s really getting better — I think getting comfortable in the system helps — (he’s) a terrific matchup problem for the defense coming out of the backfield, and he’s made some big plays for us.”


    • With today’s session canceled by coach Jeff Fisher, the Rams held the last of their organized team activities on Thursday. Fisher had a little bit of fun to close out the OTAs with the offensive and defensive linemen in a punt-catching competition. The defensive line won the competition, 5-2.

    “It was obvious that the defensive guys have been practicing ... not here, but some place,” Fisher kidded. “I was pretty impressed. Last year, I don’t even think they touched the ball.”

    • The players were enthusiastic throughout Thursday’s fast-paced workout. In a lighter moment, undrafted rookie free agent defensive tackle Ethan Westbrooks tipped and intercepted a pass from Austin Davis and for an instant headed the wrong way before correcting himself.

    Later in practice, veteran linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar picked off a pass in the flat and then punted the ball down the field.

    • The Rams’ 11-player draft class will stick around today and then head to suburban Cleveland for the NFL’s rookie symposium dealing with league history, total wellness, professional experience and workplace conduct.

    • Throwing in back-to-back OTAs for the first time, quarterback Sam Bradford looked sharp again on Thursday. On one of his better passes Thursday, Stedman Bailey came up with a leaping grab in the back of the end zone in tight coverage from safety T.J. McDonald.

    • Matt Daniels, a third-year safety who saw his first two seasons cut short by knee injuries, returned to the practice field. Rookie receiver Jamaine Sherman and safety Christian Bryant continue rehab work with trainers. Fisher said Bryant and left tackle Jake Long are the players who aren’t expected to be ready for the start of training camp in late July. Long, coming off knee surgery, took part in some individual drills Thursday.

    Others who sat out Thursday’s workout were running back Chase Reynolds (sports hernia), safety and Eureka High product Maurice Alexander (knee surgery), linebacker Ray Ray Armstrong, center Scott Wells, defensive end William Hayes, and defensive tackle Michael Brockers.

    • Rodger Saffold took some first-team reps at left tackle during 11-on-11, with veteran Davin Joseph lining up at right guard.

    Jim Thomas of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.
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